tv After Words CSPAN August 9, 2015 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT
on budget and policy rarities and economic adviser to vice president joe biden it is a privilege to be here with you today. let's jump right in. tell us what it is you would like us and your readers to take from your new book. >> guest: two propositions in the book. first is the american project as i defined it is objectively dead and there are limits to what can be done in the process. the second is that opportunities are opening for re-creating some of the best qualities of the american project.
so let me just quickly say that i the american project i'm referring to the idea of the founders that individuals and families and communities can be left to free their lives they see fit into the role of the government is to provide a peaceful setting in the device stand inside. it is eventually left that option essentially left that option of rolling back the federal government power. that's gone. >> let me jump right in here. and you mentioned that your book is fraught with so many cases and perhaps if you can put them for myself and my viewers we are all constitutional lawyers. when you say that these things
are set in stone, what happened is such that the dynamism that one might argue is characterized on the landscape in these areas has evaporated. >> guest: let me distinguish between two things. can we get better policy board for that matter your different point of view but can we change education policy and welfare policy and that kind of thing we can still do that. >> host: you have changed welfare policy. >> guest: if you could change those things than our institutions would have no further than - if you talk about the regulatory state which is the center of my concern come administrative state, whatever you want to call it, you are talking about a large edifice
that cannot be rolled back like ronald reagan did it go back and roll back the regulatory state to cause he didn't have the authority to do so. >> host: can i ask you to be concrete. it probably means different things to different legislators that in your view is in place, probably should be in place and rolled back. would social security be an example? >> guest: i'm referring to the suspects like so many other agencies in all the cabinet officers that have some element. is this a little variance he can't quite bring under the name
isn't it to complete the thought of the education department us lots of things that are not involved in regulation but it also does lots of things in the classrooms around the country this is what you want to do if you want to get federal funding and of course everyone gets federal funding so the regulatory state is intertwined with all of the executive branch. point number two and and they want the listeners to be clear about this that actually some regulation or a libertarian like me is perfectly okay because it advances public goods classically defined. insofar as not only spoke snack delete the - stack i'm not against regulations that prescribe on our libertarian friends would argue i'm a softy
on this and when there are the regulations that are the low hanging fruit in the regulatory state, really good things that needed to be done and have been done. but you also have a whole lot of ways in which small business people, farmers, ranchers are going about their dalia lives, doctors, dentists, carpenters and turning the regulatory state in ways that you present them from do present them from living their life as they see fit for pointless reasons. >> host: i am suspecting there are people that say where do you draw the line and since you've described yourself as a libertarian if you are going to draw the line in a different place, so certainly that seems to be challenging question in
that space. how do you know where to draw the line fax >> guest: the context of my solution because that every book i've written i have a solution to let me briefly describe because one of the first tasks to answer the question of where to draw the line but i propose is the defense funds. it comes to the aid of the corporations that of the little guy who's after him and that you have to redo your workplace is going to cost $30,000. we are an occupational fund that uses accuses the government of dementia double hazard.
it is a philanthropic fund and was to say which regulations are we willing to save civil disobedience is okay and which regulations are not. you don't go after the irs because it is hard to distinguish the principle disobedience to try to achieve the taxes. you should describe what you mean by civil disobedience but on the way over here i was thinking you think about civil disobedience against what was an absolutely pernicious episode in
the american landscape not to say that it's resolved that the racial problems persist in a big way and we've seen the police that but that strikes me as a very clear example of not only legitimate but essential disobedience. it is a standard that you think it's is a bad idea in the late time. they had racial discrimination. the same are about that.
they ask what you would like to do well and take pride in it. to the extent that you have lots of people in some locations including physicians and small-business people of all kinds where they say i can't do what i want to do in terms of providing a good or service. it's impeding freedom. >> host: with me jump in here. presumably they can't do what they want to do up because of some arbitrary beat a regulatory because somebody thought what he wanted to hurt somebody else. the judge and jury seems to a - >> guest: i have a very different view about the government view is. so there's the meaning of the american experiment was a
presumption of freedom. you do that the very best you can if you make the mistake toured somebody you are responsible - that goes back. you are vulnerable if you are negligent or is up. was about. but otherwise, you have a presumption of freedom. i don't want to characterized your opinion. i would say that the progressive movement, and i'm defining that as the early 20th century terms with its dramatic origins was one of the first times that it was assumed that the state does better and that experts can say actually you cannot live in a presumption of freedom. we will decide what is okay and what is not. we will decide this is not ethical, this is not fair and we will propagate the rules in the
constraint. somebody did but the presumption here's where it really gets on the ideological. if i minded my own business and i haven't heard of anybody or someone to give the power of the state to say you haven't heard anybody yet but i'm going to lay all these constraints on you because you might, that's wrong. >> host: so i don't think anyone would disagree with you that the way that you've queued it up, and i don't want to belabor this because there are so many thousands of nitpick regulations i think we could find some that we would agree off to be disregarded. but i do think that there is an important thing to do the first one was kind of in the book and the second i found to be missing some great ask you the whole of
the argument. they ought to engage in the civil disobedience because i do think that the ideological argument is pretty abstract and perhaps not as helpful as we would like. that's the first point. and here's where i got some of those missing. i'm going to put this in economic terms. it would seem to me that before you want to engage in a fairly potentially dramatic endeavor of civil disobedience funded by hundreds of millions of dollars at least for your hypothesis you want to make a pretty strong case that what you call the
regulatory state. here i think you have a tough time and you haven't even really tried to climb it in the book so i'm going to ask you to try to claim it here. prior to what you're calling the regulatory state, a lot of things were a lot worse. actually growth is a lot smaller. recession came about more frequently and they were deeper. many more people were made ill by the kind of externalities you and i were talking about a while ago were excluded etc.. the position of the regulatory state to use the term doesn't correlate with outcomes that have been proven since then.
so i felt in reading about one thing that was missing was an argument argument why do they really want to go after what you go after other than a fairly abstract libertarian discussion about personal freedom. >> guest: .1 is that i'm not interested so much in the economic outcome. the value of the freedom to let your life as you see fit seems to be to transcend a lot of that having said that, i have a trend test and it goes like this. take some outcome that is reasonably well insured in the outcome of infant vitality and poverty reductions. one that is a classic is the 100 million miles. and here's the thing. go back as many years as you can and this should be at the period that covers before and after the
regulatory intervention and then show me the look of pretty intervention occurred. did the good thing that was happening before had been in the steve rate and here's my proposition. i can produce dozens of trend lines in which. it's a huge regulatory intervention in the 70s. you can take something like the content of certain contaminants in the air.
it would be a good and an important debate to have because i'm sitting here thinking of my own but i was just thinking about social security. social security again you don't >> guest: the reason i introduced that in the book is because it sent congress and the general welfare. it is a fairly generous and particularly progressive program of cash benefits to folks beyond the working years. so that was point number two. point number one is getting back to this issue of particular line drawing and diverse and what
belongs in your civil disobedience category and what doesn't suit you take the taxes out of the neck's and it strikes me as plausible to suggest some of your colleagues would argue that paying taxes is just something they ought not do. >> guest: i would say that's wrong in particular when it comes to the income tax. i have a classic position i think the income tax is idiotic. at the adobe that it's currently minister i'm sure you think is idiotic and in many ways. with the give you an example of how the other guidelines i've used i'm going to use the phrase
strict scrutiny because that is a phrase that we will subject the rights in the constitution for certain scrutiny more than others. i would say there is no cool category of regulations you can disobey. to do whatever they wish to do on the property as long as they don't interfere with the neighboring properties are subject to strict scrutiny and that goes through the chapter of categories where i would say this is where you look for targets for civil disobedience. >> guest: thank you for getting dumped at a granular level. but some of the books you and i argued about in the past i actually found this to be the most pessimistic. it seems like you've given up.
where you go with that is i found to be probably beyond pessimistic and one of the selfless socratic. it's broken and leads us to be leave this to be the board that can't be fixed and ergo democracy won't work. we have to try something else which is fact in the civil disobedience context. that struck me as deeply pessimistic and somewhat undemocratic. defend yourself in those.
>> guest: utility how it is different from james madison. james madison and the other founders were deeply nervous about democracy. >> host: to answer the cluster i think james madison would say - and his actions, you know more about this than me but i think that you would say this if you can't fix those broken through the system you either have to live with that or you have it or you have to try to use the system to change. i think that is madisonian. you can correct me if i'm wrong. >> medicine didn't read the declaration of independence that the founding document authority that when the government becomes a duty to abuse if it's not only the right and the duty of the people to rebel. >> host: they had the king of england in mind.
they were talking about the role of the government and saying that when they were not as because would the government do this it's to establish - >> guest: i don't disagree with the texture. they were not thinking of the workplace regulations. >> guest: when you visit federalist one i. can't i get them back south, the terrible nature that opposed if you substitute the word special interest with the disturbing is what would have happened in here i would appeal to an economist is not an ideologue on either side as far as i know and the work i describe in some detail
as you are aware he came up with a serious sclerosis the theory of sclerosis of the government which is adhered in the advanced democracy. >> host: and you could see the blocks from where we speak. >> guest: there is no way of stopping it because of the eighth century did it - asymmetry in so completely apart from the libertarian view on things they have hold of the troops about the current state of the eu into the current state of japan and also be true of china if it isn't already and thereby sclerosis sets in in the u.s. government of the special interest by the special interest and i spent five chapters in the first part of the book.
>> host: . [inaudible] >> guest: my wife and i have a friend that has a small business that employs and the difference between him and everybody else in his part of countries that he documented it. he made himself an easily visible target and so he's been relentlessly grasp by a variety of regulatory agencies. not because he doesn't pay good wages wages or provide good living additions.
he does. but there are things that you can't - you can't have enough of them working for you to comply with certain regulations because it is really hard to get them to take those jobs and budget other things. so finally one time he said that they particularly obtuse allegation and he said you'd try said he tried that and we'll put you out of business and that was exactly right. it's not an uncommon story. and i had this image provided serious standing up out of nowhere to be a bureaucrat on the shoulder saying we are taking this case we know that he's technically in violation of this regulation. we don't care. we are going to litigate this to the max and our legal system is such that we can do that and
make life miserable for you so that when we finally reimburse him for it. and i said to myself you can write a book. i am trying to convey is i want certain categories of regulations to become de facto unenforceable. >> host: this is going to sound more negative to you than i mean it. tying the regulator up in court i want to get back to that to understand what you're talking about by the way one of the things i think of this as a full employment program for the lawyers.
common the common sense enforcement regulations for what i want is i encountered a bartender charged for a person to be anyplace debate culberson in place. there was a reasonable running. at the the person she didn't card with her father. it was a 3,000-dollar fine. that's stupid. i want a harm no foul. i would like to ask you to defend that a bit now that we've established the kind of granular meeting of civil disobedience in your world.
the problems exist overzealous regulations and you don't find either myself or anyone else but in the real world question of his assertions. the meeting mishmash to together so it's broadly representative of what the majority of the electorate one once with all of its blemishes and what makes me nervous in the book is that it sounds like a relatively small group of elites funded by billionaires as you suggest are going to be taking things into their own hands that purport to
fight the smashup that we currently call messy within their sink warner's in the wrong way with tie-in tying up the courts and legal harassment. it's through the courts and the congress. so that's the thing that you are confusing. it could be wrong. i'm not saying - - this isn't an attack. i think that you're confusing a swinging of the pendulum. with a fundamental fissure in the system that you're trying to fix by the methods with the billionaires in a way that sounds almost scary to me. so go ahead. >> guest: first let me go to the issue of the extralegal
state to be one of the most pretentious decisions in the five or six year period for my point of view it was 1943 when they try to fight the federal communications commission because the legislation had the rules on licensing always before since all the power is in the congress in the united states there have to had to be an intelligible principle of the regulation. they had no limits because they said we wanted to accomplish this and they were pretty specific about what they wanted to accomplish. and nbc versus the united states the supreme court dispensed and here is my argument. what we have in the regulatory state there is no resemblance to what the majority of americans want. i would say that if you took some huge proportions of the
regulation now and ask that the congress passed them in an up or down vote, but the congress does the self-indulgent and disciplined way - >> guest: go beating up on an argument with a 10% approval rating. >> guest: you are right. what they do is pass legislation with high-minded goals and instructions and after that, the regulatory state makes up appropriate regulations for implementing that. but i guarantee they ran the regulatory state and their point of view about what is appropriate is different. >> host: i guarantee your right.
then if you started saying how do you feel about the minimum wage have to defend against child labor i think those are actually important - >> guest: talk about the piling on i already said there was a glitch category of low hanging fruit and some of the ones you just mentioned fill in that category. that is a person that had a small business and that is the person that's trying to put a dent on the back of the house in the last three years and if it's people that tried to get through - if it is a quick case of
wanting to get together to solve the problem you are not going to get a specific. having delayed a couple of days because they had to sign off on something. i have a question and a point. every regulation of you can think of including the one i just mentioned i jokingly complained about every regulation many of them i will agree on is a bouncer who got dinged for not carting their father.
it has been well served by the wager. the question is can you fix that without hurting the person on the outside of the regulation for good reason. if we don't card folks you're going to end up hurting simple double peoples of that's my point. i don't know whomever. i argue with conservatives and i guess my question would be the ronald reagan's reagan's of the world there's only one but i can't but can't they be counted on to solve the problem why haven't they been able to -
>> guest: he had to a point ahead of them and he could have demanded the minister of the regulation the way that he wanted they have little authority over the regulatory state. there is a really good book. it's extralegal in the sense that they have their own administrative system and its own judges at it looks like a hyperbole if the police could make up the law and enforce the law and also choose the judges and prosecutors that were one. this is a vast body of law that
affect the dalia life of millions of americans that lie completely outside. >> host: so as we move towards the latter part of our discussion here, that is the very system that you want to engage in. >> guest: to selectively disobey. >> host: . the solution is potentially ineffective and i read one more view of the buck. he argued that the book won't work because the government has simply prohibited insuring against the damages and that it didn't strike me as all that far-fetched.
to protect vulnerable parties we can argue. that is a sound principle. if an individual is unable to ensure against the damages and the regulations that ultimately the goal of your solution here so why would stop the federal government or the court system saying i'm sorry. we simply can't ensure against the regulatory damage because of the completely vitiating in the spirit of the regulation. what they meant by that was in the process of the resolution we want the entire to regulate and so i'm hoping actually is to
provoke reactions so here is my reading of the situation we could trust the government to do the right thing all the time, most of the time or some of the time and that's gone for about three quarters of the population it has been secular in the entire period that isn't a partisan distrust. there is a wide spread sense to people has become a thing apart it's not the things that we've been together. it is an entity that is largely concerned with the wealth of interest and so i don't think
that my sentence in the book where i said that my legal funds to get started right away if someone wanted to contribute $100 million i don't think i should have put that in there and the reason is as follows. my sense is that this thing is going to get python did by the contributions. any reaction isn't the billionaires saying i want to help out the little people. it's the little people saying it's about time that we have this ability to push back. >> host: i certainly don't question the poll to talk about. here's where i should write the buyer the people book of my own because what i think is going on
is behind the poll result, and i'd agree it isn't a partisan result is something more different when you ask people about the government and get the result if you drill down to ask them how they feel about the troops come ask them how they feel about medicare and ask how they feel about. it's even among the conservatives these are only the core functions of the government i think something like 30% of the budget the rest is a large social insurance program and so
on and i'm remembering the old then remembering the old adage get the government out of my medicare. it was an interesting disjuncture between the government and the way that it experienced and i would ask you to react to that. part number two, there are lots of people indicted suspect we don't object to that. they say washington is broken. these are people who are using the government function as a tool to discredit the institution so that they can protect their friends in ways that you and i would both find very wrong. where does the government to do a do a good job and there is a highly motivated, it is a good
example of that and in the book bureaucracy they talk about this at some length where people feel they have a mission of air traffic control into the government employees are as productive as hard-working and as anything in the private sector. the social security agency had a reputation for a long time as being a very highbrow agencies of of people were distributing the social security checks. so all the things that you mentioned go back to the regulations that are okay. there are those that i wanted to perform very well and i would argue that where it has done the best job has been the growth functions.
incrementally this number of functions which are not core into the government screws up pretty badly. >> host: said his government dysfunction. it was an article that publicized a couple of days ago where you have the identical education plan as you told them this is a republican plan or democratic plan. they are identical plans in both cases. the methods and republicans fight the huge majorities were opposed to it if the other party had done it. as other people that trade on it, absolutely. and they say something loud and clear.
the big business is hugely complicit. they craft the regulations the way they want them to and also they can deal with the regulatory burden that potential competitors cannot sue so all of those things probably were on different parts of the same page >> host: getting back to some of the earlier work i would like you to type this book in at least two of the past books that i know pretty well. losing ground and coming apart. so, losing ground was a lot to do with the anti-poverty policy.
coming apart there was a bug that i tend to agree with. there's the income wealth class dispersions just rebounding against the equal opportunities that are important as a serious problem. can you tie some of the themes in this book into the anti-poverty policy which i would argue and i went to see if you agree .-full-stop are your part of the government that i think is okay. we should probably be doing more than the less advantaged people. it's a very robust subsidy strongly anti-poverty and we are spending 60 plus billion a year
on that. again as far as the anti-poverty losing ground not walking away from it at all but i do think that income transfers in the form of the basic guaranteed income. >> host: i think that in a society as rich as the powers everybody should have access to the assistance whether they actually use those means is another question. when you talk about pessimism that last chapter come in this book i have what i consider the solution to a problem.
so what i'm doing in this book is different. in coming apart i'm saying the culture has come apart and i'm really sad about that. you still have an awful lot of americans who are doing everything right and are trying to make an honest living. we don't have the government interfering. we've had in the neighborhoods where we don't solve the problems of the many ways we are buffered from the effects of the
regulatory state. >> host: take a stand for somebody that's missing in both the book the book and analysis which is the people on the other side of the regulations that you can disparage if we can find examples that are worth being protected potentially as a useful way. i want to try to draw a a few a few a little bit since i feel over the course of our conversation you've actually said may be more positive things than i would expect about certain aspects of the government activities that you don't judge to be harmful in the way of your accounting of the regulatory state and get you to think a little bit more about an opportunity agenda that can help
kind of things that were left behind in coming apart or for that matter in the book our kids which is a similar thesis and he's the area the government could do more but it's hard for the libertarian to embrace. you are you're a little pregnant on that already. i saw a statistic the other day. they are just as likely to complete college. so we don't have that meritocracy that we want. why is that not just the critical market failure would that be a great space for the government to try to intervene in the major boost to achieve
that important goal. >> guest: in this empirical question mark, my two younger children up to the public school and have lots of working-class kids and we would go to the final ceremony where they would say where they are going and what scholarships they have gotten and i have to say that i'm familiar with kids even though they test well and it's a much more common phenomenon phenomenon bigger to college but they don't go to the elite college for the reasons they got interested in and when you do have those that go to college it's not because there is no way they can afford it, it's because of the cultural characteristics that have discouraged them.
but think of to the chase. i don't think they do that very well. i think that the government does is write checks and i think if you you have basic guaranteed income that would be far more to open up than any target that they would have. >> host: i only pulled in the college example because - >> guest: i think one of ronald reagan's jokes but i believe in most deeply is that those terrifying words are buying i'm from the government and i'm here to help. the government has an invisible hand of the economy, it has an invisible foot. it tends to screw things up all the time. >> host: i very much object to that assertion following my - it's one of those things that sounds good.
there is a strain of bird recently and you drove to the dove into these as much as i do. there is the work that has tracked day bait or overtime of the kids that received a nature show benefits when they were kids when they got medicaid as compared to kids who didn't. kids who went to head start and those who defend. other studies have consistently found - >> guest: housing is another
one. >> host: but they consistently found is that in fact not only do we reduce poverty when we provided the resources. but these programs are in the lasting investment and that these kids when they grow up to be adults compared to the kids - monday finish, higher levels. >> host: we are running out of time so i went to get something in. you will have ample time. these kids have higher earnings and they are more likely to complete college and they are more likely to form a family structure that is more conducive to the type that you were talking about a few minutes and to have out of wedlock births especially with teenagers. so if you track record can i get that it's catchy and it's hard not to agree. when you get right down it's not there. >> guest: i categorically reject your portrayal of the
data. i would say i will go to the map with you on these numbers with other settings at another time. i've read the stuff, believe me. >> host: that would be a good debate for us to have because at the end of the day there's a level of - i keep pushing for the the granularity because i think that it's a level of when you are flying along 30 or 40,000 feet on the regulatory state and the government and the congress, you are going to get a lot of people on your side. it's a 30,000 feet but these look good when people actually
live their lives and the more that you see it's not an ally but an enemy. >> host: in the last couple of minutes, and that was a good thesis in our last couple of minutes till me what he will do or say if in fact this doesn't pan out the way that you would like it to base a good idea, go for it if there are a bunch of individual donors to think this is a good idea, what will you conclude, what will you do if you have a meet each other a year or two from now and it has amounted? >> guest: it's deeply pessimistic in many ways it's the natural forces that are
meant the things try to write this book in the right direction from information technology. i think some of the cultural diversity czar working in the direction of the subsidiarity in terms of the control and dalia life and optimistic. i would like people in the audience they disagree political ideology and what i consider to be a lovely conversation. right back at you and it's always a pleasure to interact with you. that was after words in which authors of the latest
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